Reducing Cognitive Impairment and Improving Joint health in Older Adults

Improving Cognitive & Joint Health Network (ICON)

Principal Investigator

Linda Li, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC)

Why do this research?

Good brain and joint health is essential for people to enjoy the best quality of life. It is particularly important for older people because cognitive impairment and chronic joint diseases are common in this population. Not only do these conditions affect people's quality of life, they are also expensive and can be fatal if not treated appropriately. Yet while there are effective prevention and treatment options available, their implementation in the general population has been slow and inconsistent. To improve public and healthcare providers' use of effective strategies to enhance brain and joint health, there is an increasing use of digital media to provide health-related services and treatment. Digital media includes social networking tools, mobile applications, and health tracking devices such as portable blood glucose monitors or pedometers. These tools provide flexibility and user-friendly methods for delivering 'just-in-time' functions or information when and where the user needs it.

Working with community and health professional partners, we will do the following:

  • Figure out areas to improve the use of effective prevention and treatment options for brain and joint health. We will focus on physical activity for improving cognitive function and joint health, as well as the timely use of arthritis treatment.
  • Develop and test digital media test tools to improve the use of effective prevention and treatment by the public and health professionals.
  • Disseminate these tools to people who need and can benefit from them.

When will the final results be reported?

We anticipate that the final results will be available by the end of 2017.

How will this study be conducted?

We have assembled a network of leaders from leading research/academic programs, plus 4 consumer/healthcare organizations across Canada to conduct the study.

Collectively, we will share expertise and resources to develop and test tools to improve the use of effective prevention and treatment by the public. Additionally, we will evaluate implementation strategies and train the next generation of researchers to incorporate digital media in delivering health information.

How is this study being funded?

Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Teresa Liu-Ambrose
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC

Diane Gromala
Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University

John Esdaile
Professor, Department of Medicine, UBC

Sharon Straus
Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

France Légaré
Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Université Laval

Richard Smith
Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University

Chris Shaw
Associate Professor, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University

Allyson Jones
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta

Alison Hoens
Knowledge Broker, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC

Paul Adam 
Rheumatology Liaison and Outreach Services Coordinator, Mary Pack Arthritis Centre

Research Staff:

Jenny Leese, Research Assistant, ARC
Joanna Ye, Research Assistant, ARC
Jasmina Memetovic, Research Coordinator, ARC

Consumer Collaborators:

Cheryl Koehn
President of Arthritis Consumer Experts

Daniel Schwartz
Medical Director, Fraser Health Renal Program

Jennifer O’Hagan
Manager, Program Development, Coordination and Evaluation, Alzheimer’s Society of BC

Leslie Soever
President, Arthritis Health Professions Association

Jeannette Kopak
Director of Business Development and Operations, Centre for Digital Media

Elise Kayfetz
Community Development Officer, Canadian Advocacy for Retired Persons (CARP)